Laduree is coming to town!

The excitement is palpable – Laduree is coming to town! I recognise that I tend to harp on about this place but I love, love, love (yup thrice loved) Laduree – not only are the delicacies divine (they’ve been around since 1862 which says something) but the decor in the cafes is soooo pretty… That pastel green is now synonymous with the macaron (much like a certain blue box with a white ribbon is connected to jewellery). Laudree is coming to Australia and I cannot wait!

It’s not that we have been deprived of these little gems as many patisseries have been whipping up their own versions. Sometime ago I was given a box each of Adriano Zumbo and Laduree macarons – as you can see from the photos the Zumbo macarons had more filling and were crisper (though the Laduree ones traveled from the UK so were a little travel worn). The packaging for Laduree is, in my opinion, so much prettier. Zumbo is more creative with his flavours – there was a finger bun and coca cola flavoured macaron amongst the mix. Both were beautifully coloured. Ultimately though the texture of the Laduree macarons is what I love best.

Until Laduree opens though, I will need to be content with homemade creations.

Last week was my brother’s girlfriend’s birthday party. She will be henceforth to be referred to as BGF  (Brother’s GirlFriend) – I do note the similarity to the BFG which is perhaps an appropriate nickname for my brother…  BGF requested some macarons. BFG asked if I could make a cake – and in an overly ambitious frame of mind I decided I would make a macaron tower with a chocolate mud cake ‘cone’ covered in macarons… what I didn’t account for was how much time would be needed to do this… after a week of limited sleep behold the masterpiece.

Yes, okay, it’s a little tilted – my attempt at leveling off the cone was not very successful, nor was my attempt at icing the cake… So perhaps not such a masterpiece after all – but the bottom line? It looked good enough and tasted great!

When it came to the macaron fillings I wanted chocolately, fruity, and floral flavours – so I ended up with coffee (BGF loves coffee), maraschino cherry (for BFG), and lavender (to match the colour). The banana buttercream was for the shells that failed to pass muster – which ended up being the filling for an extra batch I made of just-in-case-shells.

Macaron Birthday Cake

The key thing to consider before you make this is time it takes to make and assemble. Since the party was on a Friday night careful timetabling was required:
Night 1: The macaron shells were made and left to dry overnight on a rack. The macaron fillings were also prepared and refrigerated.
Night 2: Mud cake was baked for a long time at a low temperature. While baking, I made the ganache for the cake plus the “30” plaque for decorating. The plaque was made from rolled fondant and piped with royal icing (I used a ‘just add water’ mix for both the rolled fondant and royal icing that you can buy from cake decorating suppliers). Macarons were sandwiched together with the ganache and stored in the fridge.

Night 3: Assemblage and piping – I trimmed the cake, stuck the pieces together with the vanilla ganache, covered  the whole structure with ganache, an then covered with white chocolate rolled icing (available from cake decorating suppliers).
Night 4: I left the sticking the macarons till I arrived at the final destination as I was paranoid that they would fall off. In retrospect, the royal icing was an effective ‘glue’ and the cake probably would have transported okay (except perhaps for the plaque).

Laduree Macarons
From the Laduree cookbook “Sucre”
180g egg white (6 eggs) + 15g egg white (1/2 egg)
210g caster sugar
275g Ground almonds
250g icing sugar
food colouring

Process almonds and icing sugar (you want it to be super-fine). The original recipe also says to sieve it but I didn’t bother.
Whip up 180g egg white until firm peaks form, adding caster sugar in three batches.
Fold, by hand, the almond mix into the egg white. Add colour.
Whip up remaining 15g white, add to mix (to loosen).
Put into a piping bag and pipe your shells on baking paper – keeping them 2-3cm apart
Allow to sit for 15-30 mins.
Preheat oven to 150 degrees Celsius. Bake for 15 mins. Allow to cool on tray, once cool remove and place on rack to ‘dry’ overnight.
Sandwich together with filling.

Coffee ganache
250g 70% dark chocolate
125g butter
60g double cream
coffee grains, to taste

Melt chocolate and butter together – you can do this in a double broiler or microwave (like I did) – I zapped it for 1 minute and stirred with a wooden spoon to combine. The cream is meant to be boiled in a saucepan then added to the chocolate mix – I decided to try microwaving this also (for 20 seconds) – the cream came out liquidy and was added to the chocolate mix. Continue stirring until the ganache is silky and smooth. Ground coffee beans were added according to my taste buds… so add as much or as little as you like.

Lavender ganache
250g 70% dark chocolate
125g butter
60g double cream
lavender essence, to taste

Same process as above replacing coffee with lavender – interestingly, with this mix when I added the cream the butter and chocolate separated causing a moment of anxiety. Vigorous stirring ensued and it came together.

Cherry ganache
250g 70% dark chocolate
125g butter
60g double cream
cherry essence, to taste
violet food colouring

Same process as above replacing the flavour with cherry and adding colour.

Banana buttercream
125g unsalted butter
2.5 ripe bananas, mashed up
1/2 pinch of salt
1/2 cup caster sugar

Beat butter and sugar until creamy, add salt and bananas

Chocolate mud cake recipe

I tripled the recipe (not sure of how much I would need). Two-and-a-half times probably would have been enough. Instead of chocolate ganache I made a white chocolate and vanilla ganache (see below).

White chocolate and vanilla ganache
500g White chocolate
250g butter
125g double cream
Seeds of one vanilla bean

Assemblage and decorating.
1 sausage white chocolate rolled icing (you could use plastic icing instead).
royal icing (I cheated and bought some just add water royal icing – and coloured some Wilton violet colouring paste for the piping on the cake)

Trim the cake so that surfaces are flat and level. -“Glue” the pieces together with the vanilla ganache. Cover  the whole structure with ganache.

Roll out the icing, cover the shape, smooth out. I’m sure there are some videos on you tube that demonstrate how this is done properly – I did an appalling job of it but figured that it would be covered by the macarons anyway so it did not matter…

Add a wedge of icing to the top to hold up the plaque  – I used fondant and used  water to stick it in place.

Pipe the pattern around the base of the cake – in retrospect I would practise first – my attempt was quite messy as I would try to create hanging loops that just kept breaking so I ended up piping directly onto the cake which gave a less than smooth line… Perhaps the icing was too runny?

Using some royal icing (uncoloured) to stick on the macarons and plaque to the cake. Allow to set.

Of course, once all the formalities are over… dig in!

This entry was posted in Decorating, Food, Review, Sweets, Vegetarian and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Laduree is coming to town!

  1. You have done it again! I am in absolute awe of your wonderful creations. I think you and I should definitely catch up for a mac or two when Laduree opens….

  2. Wow!! That is seriously impressive! 😮 Well done 😀 I’m so excited about Laduree too!

    • Michelle says:

      Thanks Lorraine – I didn’t appreciate how much work was required – I am so very glad it worked out! When Laduree opens I think it’s going to be swamped by bloggers – perhaps I’ll see you there 🙂

  3. Pingback: Putting up with the P****’s – reality TV at it’s best! | Food and other delectable things… according to a 'Kitchen Chemist'

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s